Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragota, Frank Martin
Release Date: #16 and #17 are out now; #18 is out 11th March 2015
Bloody balloons! Seriously, if East of West is teaching me anything these days, it’s that those rubber bastards are not to be trusted. I mean it – not only do they explode at a moment’s notice, giving everyone in the near vicinity something vaguely resembling a heart attack, but they mislead the hell out of you if you just so happen to be the spawn of Death and the leader of the House of Mao. Utter jerks, every one of them.
But instilling a distrust of inflatables aside, I can actually think of no further valid criticisms of East of West. Every single issue that they crank out is yet another step along a golden path, at the end of which is that most lofty of titles: masterpiece. It’s only a matter of time – and the only way I can reasonably foresee their trek being derailed is if they don’t allow themselves to reach said end. Because all things considered, all the plot threads that are still up in the air, all that have been resolved and twined into the rich backstory thus far – and irrespective of quite when it is reached – there is an absolutely incredible finale promised by this. It’s only a matter of time.
In the meantime, what we have here is a yet another cracklingly vibrant arc of the story. In his usual, inimitable style, Hickman sets about combining seemingly disparate genres into one, with some heady romance, the usual sci-fi-meets-religious-horror vibe, and a vaguely welcome new entrant in the form of what can only be described as Lynchian comedy. It’ll raise a chuckle, if only for the unseen – and mildly horrifying – implications of the matter, thanks to that bloody balloon’s duplicitous nature.
Dragotta – my artist of the year for 2014, if you’re new – continues to not just excel, able to create drama and dynamicism from the smallest of in-story movements, but never being too artsy-fartsy to blast out a good gunfight. Kudos too must go to Mr Frank Martin for his gorgeous colour palette – the book continues to be the benchmark for artist and colourists who are preternaturally in synch.
We’ve said it before. We stopped saying it for a bit, and now we’re saying it again – get your butts on this book! It’s so damn good – there’s something for everyone herein. Ideally, you’d head all the way back to issue #1 and throw all the required money to get yourself up to date at your preferred comic book deal. It’s that bloody good.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I see a balloon in need of murdering.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24